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Marise Tuttle, Pastor
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Welcome   Chrismon (Chi-Rho)  

The word chrismon comes from the Latin Christi Monogramma, which translates as
"monogram of Christ." It consists of the first two letters in the Greek word christos,
namely the letter X (chi, pronounced "kee" and looking like the 24th letter of the Roman
alphabet) superimposed on the letter P (rho, which is the equivalent of the Roman letter R).
Thus the monogram of Christ is often referred to as the "chi-rho." It is also referred to as a labarum, from an obscure Latin word for "laurel-leaf standard," coined by Constantine as
the name of the standard (or banner) he adopted when he took over the Roman Empire.


Prescott Memorial Baptist Church began using the chi-rho symbol in the mid-eighties
when a large wooden chrismon was chosen to adorn the front of the sanctuary. Since
that time the symbol has been used on church stationery and literature, as well as on
this website. (Clicking on the chi-rho at the top of any of these web pages will navigate
the user back to Prescott's welcome page.)

When the congregation moved in 2004 to its present location, it was felt important
to move the wooden chrismon to the new sanctuary, as seen in the photograph at
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For Prescott church members, the chi-rho is a symbol of the eternal light, love,
and compassion that is shared with all people through Christ. For us, it is a constant
reminder to carry the message of light, love and compassion out into the world.


Here are a few other "fun facts" about the chi-rho symbol.

  • Since the original location for Prescott Memorial Baptist Church was just north of the railroad tracks which
    run along Southern Avenue, and since the Greek letter rho looks like the Roman lettter P, which stands for
    Prescott, and since the chi (X) looks like the railroad crossing sign, visitors were frequently told that the
    chi-rho symbol represented "Prescott near the railroad tracks."
  • The Greek letter chi (X), being the first letter in the Greek word for Christ, became a scholarly abbreviation
    for Christ, with similar abbreviations suchs as Xn for Christian or Xnty for Christianity. It also is used in
    the abbreviation Xmas for Christmas. However, modern Americans, not having Greek language as part
    of their education, mistakenly believe the X in Xmas stands for X the unknown as used in algebra.
  • Often the upper part of the rho (P) is distorted so that it looks like the crook of a shepherd's staff, so that
    the chi-rho is often used as a symbol of Christ the Good Shepherd of his flock, the Christian church.
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